Big Idea Week is a week-long immersion into the entrepreneurial mindset. Through meetings with company founders and collaborative work in the classroom, students learn to look at the world with a critical eye, identifying common problems and then thinking of innovative ways to solve them. Students develop essential skills while getting a glimpse of how it feels to bring an idea to life and change the world.
The program's three components depend on a partnership between a school and the business community surrounding it. To facilitate this partnership, the Big Idea Week team works with BIDs or business-minded civic groups to recruit entrepreneurs from the community that are willing to volunteer their time.
The week kicks off with a one-hour assembly event where founders come in to "pitch" their ideas to the students. The presentations are designed to expose students to how an entrepreneur sees the world and introduce the concept that many of the best ideas and inventions start as solutions to simple problems. Each founder shares their Big Idea in terms of a linear sequence: problem, opportunity, product.
By sharing their process, the founders serve as role models and help prepare the students for their own creative journey over the course of the week. After the assembly, the founders visit the classrooms in small groups to answer questions and provide guidance.
For the next three days, students work through the Big Idea Week lesson plans with their teachers. Lesson topics include brainstorming, collaboration and product design. After all of the concepts are introduced, students are divided into small groups to work on their ideas and prepare a product pitch of their own.
On the final day of the week, the founders return to the classroom to hear the students pitch their ideas and to provide feedback.
As a culminating event, students have the opportunity to visit the founders at their offices for a tour and more Q&A. Students learn about how creative startup companies work and see the tools that entrepreneurs use to bring their ideas to life.